Not for the first time that year did Dana Lee find herself in fleeing, packed away at Adam Pang’s Sentosa Cove hideaway. It struck Dana, even in her misery, that the vacant villa had the vibe of a high security prison. On one side was the South China Sea, now grey-green now white-blue, ceaselessly ebbing and flooding; on the other, was a glade of trees, in a dark tropical tangle, full of the sound of unseen birds and insects and things crashing through the leaves at night; a curving drive led from the tall security gates to the main door with its digital lock. “I could be the mistress of all this, and leave the fashion and publishing world behind...,” thought Dana, as she walked along the edge of the garden by the water, at sunset. In the distance, peacocks screamed. “Will I miss it? The artificial glitter of it all? The competition every which way I turn, the uncertainty, the stress? Probably not. If I had the time on my hands, I would really be able to spend all my time gardening, which I truly love, and reading all the books I’ve been wanting to read. Marriage will be like house arrest, but it would also mean a certain kind of freedom – and Adam, dear loyal Adam, he will be my warden…”
All this might have been and the story must end here, except, of course, that Eli Kee was someone that Dana Lee had belatedly discovered she loved. The very peacocks seemed to be screaming her emotions out to the universe, and Dana had finally to admit to the powerful emotion. Her immense pain at the thought that Eli was claimed by someone else brought her feelings clearly before her, the intensity of which had never occurred to her before, not in the giddy, romantic phase of their flirtation. But was Eli Kee a figment of her imagination? Was he even the person that Dana loved, because so much was yet hidden and unexplained in his behaviour? That Eli Kee could have concealed from her all the details of his relationship to Bella Teo seemed incongruent with his profession of openness and warmth. And that he was in fact an heir to a sugar and tinned fruit fortune, and wasn’t the starving artist-prince of the ragged jeans and soulful songs, was a big shock to Dana. “He’s a completely different man from the sweet boy who picks me up in the broken down panel van. No wonder there was always an air of the kid in him; he’s born to privilege after all, wrapped securely in the bubble wrap of wealth,” reflected poor, heartbroken Dana Lee. "And I can't call him a sweet boy any more - it would sound like the most dreadful pun!"
“How could I have been so foolish, mother?” wailed Dana over the phone. The dismal thought instantly occurred to her: "It's inherited."
“You were always a dreamy, romantic thing, not, unlike me, always the best judge of character,” replied Mrs Tina Lee, from her chintz sofa. “Stay in bed, my dear, and turn on the security alarm. It must be terrible for you to hear this matter talked about; and as for myself, I won’t mention a word about it to anyone. I did not mention a thing all dinner last night. Except to Uncle John, and his two banking daughters. But they are all very thoughtful, discreet and considerate; especially since I gave them a hint, as to who Eli is! They had such a jolly time of it and all through coffee, you know, nudged and poked about how sweet the cakes were and was it tinned fruit they saw on the custard? Uncle John was quite beside himself with the jollity of the brown sugar cubes and said he never tasted such sweet coffee as in our house! But they were most discreet and never mentioned the Kee word! I do think the less said about such things, the better, the sooner blown over and forgot. And what does talking ever do, you know?”
“Mother you didn’t say anything to Uncle John and his two banking daughters! How could you, mother?” cried Dana.
But Mrs Tina Lee could, and did.